Monday, June 29, 2009

Blue Chips Salad

I saw this on Jessie's blog. Yummy! It's a lot like something we make often and call it Mexican pile-up, but I liked the corn and loved the blue chips in this one! Basically, just pile up whatever you like and top it with lots of salsa!

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used ground turkey)
1 packet taco seasoning
1 T olive oil
1 15 oz. can of whole-kernel corn, drained
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 c. cooked rice
1 head lettuce, chopped
2 c. blue corn tortilla chips
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 c. salsa
1/2 c. ranch dressing (I used plain yogurt)

1. Season chicken with taco seasoning. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a saute pan. Add chicken and cook until done. Cut into strips and set aside.
2. In a bowl, mix corn, black beans and rice. Form into 4 balls and set aside.
3. Layer lettuce with rice balls, chicken strips, chips and cheese.
4. Combine the salsa and ranch dressing in a bowl and stir to mix. Pour over salad.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Chicken Satay Skewers with Peanut Sauce

I forgot to take my own picture, so I borrowed this one! My sister's sister-in-law makes these and they are fantastic!! I got the recipe to make them and take to a shower this past weekend, and they were all gone by the end of the afternoon. So yummy!!

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp oil

1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 Tbsp. sweet hot chili sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. cumin

Make chicken skewers (or cubes) - as much or as little chicken as you want! Marinade in garlic soy sauce for at least one hour.

Combine the ingredients for the sauce in a small sauce pan and warm up (don't bring to a boil or it will separate), stirring frequently. You can make the sauce the day before and just microwave it when you need it. If the sauce is too thick, just add more coconut milk!

Vietnamese Noodle Salad

I served this for lunch while my mother-in-law was visiting. We both enjoyed the combination of flavors (sweet and spicy), but agreed it should not be eaten in front of people you are trying to impress (the noodles were sticky)! The dressing can be made ahead of time, leaving very little to do in putting the salad together when it's time to eat.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 jalapeno chile, minced (ribs and seeds removed for less heat if desired)
3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/4 cup dark-brown sugar
3/4 cup rice vinegar (I used regular vinegar)
4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken, skin and bones discarded (from 1 whole chicken), room temperature
1 package (8.8 ounces) cellophane (bean-thread) noodles, prepared according to package instructions
1 English cucumber, cut into 3-inch sticks
2 cups fresh cilantro leaves

In a small saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add jalapeno, ginger, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until garlic is golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Add sugar and vinegar and cook until sauce is slightly thickened, about 6 minutes. Refrigerate until cool, at least 15 minutes (or up to 1 week).

Combine chicken, noodles, cucumber, and cilantro. Drizzle with dressing just before serving.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Zesty Chicken and Pasta

This is one of our favorite summer meals. It's super easy to make, light in flavor, and even good as a cold pasta salad. It looks prettier if you use just one color of pasta, but this is what I had. You can also get creative with other vegetable combinations.

1 8 oz. package fusilli pasta
1/2 cup Italian dressing, divided (I always end up using more)
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces (plan ahead and marinade the chicken in a little Italian dressing)
2 cups broccoli florets
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Cook pasta as directed on the package.

Heat 1/4 cup of the dressing in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 5 minutes or until cooked through, stirring occasionally. Add vegetables and parsley; cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.

Drain pasta; mix chicken mixture and remaining 1/4 cup dressing. Sprinkle with cheese.

Makes 6, 1 cup servings

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Red Pepper Pasta

There is a long story that goes with this recipe. I got it over a year ago when my in-laws bought some special pasta for us at Pike Place Market. I finally decided to make it. As you'll see, the recipe is a little time consuming, but I was so excited to make it and Ryan and I were both looking forward to dinner all day. It came time to pour the pasta into the boiling water. I open the bag (that isn't see-through) and dump the pasta in, thinking, "this doesn't look like Mild Spice Red Pepper Pasta". Turns out, they had given us the wrong pasta that went with the recipe on the other side of the paper. I'm posting this recipe anyway because the chicken mixture was excellent, and I am confident it would taste fantastic on top of fettuccine. But I wouldn't recommend the Trumpet Blend pasta (carrot, chive, dill, parsley, and peppercorn flavors), which is what we ended up with!

1 lb. pasta
2 Tbsp. Liquid Smoke seasoning
1/4 cup soy sauce
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
5 red bell peppers
1 jalapeno for mild spice, two for hot
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Mix liquid smoke and soy sauce for marinade. Place chicken in marinade and refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 8 hours. Grill, broil or saute chicken until medium rare. Slice into thin, bite-sized strips and reserve.

Roast red bell peppers and jalapenos until skins char. Sweat charred peppers in large bowl tightly sealed with plastic wrap. Peel off and discard skins when peppers are cool enough to handle. Slice open peppers and remove seeds. Make sure to reserve juices.

Puree roasted peppers and juices with garlic and chicken stock in blender. Pour this sauce in large skillet or wok. Add reserved chicken and simmer. Keep warm on lowest possible heat for 10 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in 6-8 quarts of rapidly boiling salted water until al dente (about 5-8 minutes). Drain and add directly to sauce. Toss gently, add cilantro. Allow to heat through. Serve immediately. If desired, sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

Serves 6

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cheesy Turnips and Carrots

I know what you're thinking . . . turnips? I felt obligated to use them since Rooke and I pulled them from the ground ourselves. I found this recipe and figured anything with a cheese sauce couldn't be all that bad!

3 cups diced peeled turnips
2 cups sliced carrots
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup diced celery
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

In a saucepan, combine turnips, carrots, ginger, water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook over medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes or until vegetables are tender; drain and reserve liquid. Set vegetables aside. In a skillet, saute onion and celery in butter until tender; stir in flour, pepper and remaining salt. Add milk and the vegetable liquid; bring to a boil. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in cheese until melted; stir in the vegetables and heat through.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hummus - my new discovery

I love hummus. I've been making my own, and while it usually tastes good, I could never seem to get it the right texture. It always seemed a little gritty. Until now. I saw this recipe and decided to give it a try. It tasted bland, but the eggplant idea was brilliant! On another attempt, I washed a medium-sized eggplant, wrapped the whole thing tightly in foil, and put it in the oven at 375 for an hour. I added the eggplant to my hummus mixture (I don't really have a recipe for it - sorry. I just kinda wing it each time) and - voila! Perfectly creamy hummus that still tasted good. You've got to try it!

Lebanese Chicken

For the life of me, I can't remember where I found the original recipe (on the internet somewhere), but after a little tweaking it has become one of the Payne favorites. Easy. Yummy. Good leftovers. Pretty good for you. I've been told by reliable sources that it's not really Lebanese, but Mediterranean at least.

2 large chicken breasts, rubbed with salt and then cut in bite-sized chunks
4 medium potatoes, cut into 1'" cubes
4-5 roma tomatoes, cut into large chunks
1 med onion, cut in half and thinnly sliced
1/3 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup apple juice
1/3 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2-1 tsp. salt
1/4-1/2 tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 375.
Start by putting the potatoes in a 9x13 pyrex dish. Add the tomatoes and then onions on top.
Combine the lemon juice, apple juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Pour juice mixture on top of vegetables.
Bake for 25 minutes, uncovered.
Spread chicken on top of vegetables and spoon the juice over the chicken.
Bake for another 15-20 minutes - until potatoes are tender and chicken is done.
We like this with a Greek-style salad, pita wedges/chips, and hummus!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

All-in-One Spaghetti Frittata

I found this on Jessie's blog and it was very good. I would definitely add salt and pepper to the mix. Fresh basil on top was a nice addition as well.

8 oz. spaghetti, uncooked
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 can (15 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
8 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Cook pasta as directed on package. Meanwhile, heat oil in large ovenproof skillet on medium-high heat. Add onions and mushrooms; cook and stir 5 min. or until onions are crisp-tender. Add zucchini and tomatoes with their liquid. Cook 10 min. or until most of the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally.

MIX pasta, eggs and 1/2 cup of the cheese in large bowl (at this point, I would add salt & pepper as well); mix well. Add to vegetables in skillet; stir until well blended. Cook on medium-low heat 5 min. or until bottom of frittata is set. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.

BAKE 10 min. or until center is set. Cut into 8 wedges to serve.
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